The ballsed up police raid at St Agnes Place a few weeks ago reminded me of a couple of conversations I’ve had with folks on the subject of our police and how they’ve been managed, particularly over the last ten years.
Put bluntly, who benefits from our police being made to look like clowns, sometimes dangerous ones?
I don’t and I doubt that many ordinary people do either.
We all need police we can trust and rely on. We want to believe that our police forces are accountable, apolitical and competent.
And incidents like the recent shooting of PC Gray in Shrewsbury are a reminder that ordinary police officers do risk their lives on our behalf every day
But every time there’s a high-profile and well-publicized fuck up like the Forest Gate raid or the Jean Charles de Menezes shooting the profile of the police gets just that little bit worse.
A really good police fuck up has all sorts of consequences...
- people lose trust
- the police themselves feel more alienated from the people they are supposedly employed to protect
- the fuck up itself can be used to press for more spending or tougher laws, regardless of whether the absence of either had any real bearing on the fuck up at all
- and arguably worst of all, the perceived void in the capabilities of the police may be filled-in with alternative, less accountable, security organisations, some of which are privately owned
and this bloke…
… to senior positions in the police force and putting them on TV and elsewhere to spout crap at every possible opportunity
It’s also not a bad idea to blur the line in public perceptions between the police and the military. So tooling up your police as if they’re on active service in Bosnia and never deploying them in less than platoon-sized strength whenever possible is also a clever move.
Now whether this is a deliberately executed policy or not, this is exactly what is happening to our police; as has happened to most of our other public services and utilities beforehand. You run them like shit and then, directly or indirectly, you use that as an excuse to turn them over to private ownership and control.
The result being that, without realising it, monopolistic powers that we previously only gave to organisations that we could vote out are effectively transferred to organisations that we cannot vote out or hold to account in any meaningful way.
And that is perfect fascism.
(It also happens to be perfect Stalinism which is why some of the more inarticulate, slightly confused red necks who infest the Internet can sometimes be found accusing the most unlikely of organisations and individuals of being ‘Communist’ – banks, NGOs, Republicans, multinationals... I know what you mean guys but you might want to brush-up your terminology a little)
Claiming that there are vested interests out there keen to make our police look like clowns, with a view to ultimately morphing them into something nasty may seem like a bit of a stretch at first. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that we still don’t really know who shot Jean Charles de Menezes. The police took the blame but the operation was riddled with paramilitary and military personnel. And even though the fuck up at Forest Gate was driven by MI5-sourced intelligence, the police were held responsible for that one as well.
Our most accountable and visible of security forces do seem to end up carrying the can for other, murkier outfits.
I’m sure ordinary police are thrilled to bits about that.